Welcome to another installment of Concept Wednesdays! We’re nearing the end of my break now. Mostly because I’m running out of concept art to show you all.
This time we have Tanna’s loving parents, Aerion and Trylia Teasen’atear. While the base concepts and designs haven’t changed much I made a few tweaks when I started the comic. These “little tweaks” surprisingly changed a lot of the story and background setting of the elf village.
Tanna’s father was always a part of the High Council, ever since the DnD game. The High Council itself was pretty undefined at the time, though. All we knew is they were the “ruling body” of the village; and in the game centering around Tanna, I really didn’t need much more than that. Once we started the story however, the simple idea just didn’t cut it. Obviously they were still in charge but what did that mean? How many of them were there? How would you get the position in the first place? To answer these questions we not only had to define the High Council but the society of the elven village itself.
Eventually we decided the elves wouldn’t have an ‘economy’ so much as a ‘community’ or ‘hive’. Considering they’re living in a secluded, and therefore self sustaining, commune a monetary system wouldn’t really work. When there’s money, there’s greed and greed in a closed ecosystem is not sustaining in the slightest. Therefore, we came to the conclusion that everyone would work together, doing different jobs to sustain the community. This would result in a relatively simple society. The hunters would hunt, the fisher fish, the tailors sew and everyone would benefit. So, what kind of government would a community like this need?
Archmage and I decided that such a community would need a group to look out for the big picture. While the day to day life of the elven village is relaxed and easy; in order for it to maintain it’s ease, someone needs to look ahead. How much supplies do we have? How long will it last? How quickly can we get more? How many elves do we need in order to get this done? The High Council’s main task is to be basically bookkeepers. They are given the task of looking at the village as a whole and keeping it in balance. A group this well informed and this vital would also be granted other tasks. Foreign relations, keeping track of the Guardians, and other big decisions the other elves, who have no understanding of the big picture, and could never comprehend.
In order for this to work this council would have to be trusted, respected, balanced and not easily infiltrated and controlled by types that are out for themselves. The easiest way to accomplish this is to have a royal lineage. This is when Mage and I came up with the idea of the five houses. The five families descendant of the founders of the village. These founders would’ve been highly respected, honored and their memories cherish; for without them, the village would never have thrived. They would pass down their knowledge and wisdom to their offspring who would follow in their stead. Also, with five houses, there would be a balance where no one house could take over.
This is where Aerion Teasen’atear comes in. He is the direct descendant of the Teasen’atear household. An honored member of the council. Years of serving has turned him unfeeling and calculated. At this point his mind works in number. His main concern is the bottom line. This is why I decided to make him a bit older in the story than my original concept (now late 500s), to emphasize this phenomena since he’s been at his job for so long. He understands his position, it’s importance, and how key it is for Tanna to follow in his footsteps.
So if that’s the case, then why ever would he let Tanna try out for the Guardians?? This is because he is a war veteran himself. If you notice in his appearance at the end of Chapter 3, he walks with a staff/walking stick. This is due to an old war injury, his leg has never been the same (this was also briefly mentioned in the middle of Chapter 2). He lived in a much bloodier time and fought in one of the Great Wars. Despite this, he sees how joining the Guardians has benefited him. It made him disciplined, it taught him to respect others and how to truly work as a team and to rely on your comrades. In his mind, this is exactly what his wild daughter needs.
Now, Miss Teasen’atear is nothing like her husband. She’s a socialite. She enjoys parties, fine wine and being surrounded by many “friends”. She has a tendency to be stuck up, prudish, blunt and harsh. But if you don’t like her now you reeeeally wouldn’t have liked her in the DnD game. She was a whole lot worse. I actually had to tone her down a lot so I wouldn’t want to throw my computer out the window after every scene she was in. But if she’s so unlike her husband how would they have ended up together in the first place?
Well, Trylia is actually pretty young compared to her husband. In the early 200s, which makes more than a 300 year age difference. She was born after the great war and never saw the bad times. Part of the first baby boom, raised during a time of reconstruction and peace. She grew up with an easy life and wanted things to stay that way, but in a communal society where everyone has to pull their weight equally how would one do this?
Why by marrying a High Councilman of course! The spouse of a Councilmember’s only task would be raising the child of said member. This was a very important task, raising the next village leader, so the parent would never be tasked with any other responsibilities lest they become distracted. It was the perfect setup for Trylia, so she went out of her way to make this happen. Aerion Teasen’atear was getting up in years at this point and needed an heir to his house. So when he was propositioned by Trylia, a girl from a good family, lively, young and attractive, he took the opportunity and they were wed. Eventually she gave him a daughter and us a main story.
Looking back it’s funny how these two minor characters shaped the world in such a big way. It makes me very happy that I take the time to explore each one of my character’s thoroughly. I just simply love character creation… or should I say “Character discovery”? Because it almost feels like they’re entities all their own and not just something I came up with in my head.